Spying on Americans: Infamous 1970s White House Plan for Protest Surveillance Released

Malcolm Byrne's picture
Spying on Americans: Infamous 1970s White House Plan for Protest Surveillance Released

Nixon-era "Huston Plan" was too far-reaching even for J. Edgar Hoover

Government sought more infiltration of Black political movements than FBI was already doing

50 years later, censors still hiding "sources and methods" for tracking Soviet-Chinese roles (and lack thereof) in antiwar movement

Washington, DC, June 25, 2020 — Portions of a long-secret government blueprint for expansive surveillance of domestic protest movements during the Nixon presidency have just been released, more than 50 years after it was drafted.  The notorious “Huston Plan” prepared by representatives of the White House and the U.S. intelligence community envisioned a smorgasbord of covert operations that made even FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover queasy. The proposed activities ranged from monitoring domestic dissident groups — notably the Black Panthers — to office break-ins.

Named for Tom Charles Huston, the youthful White House liaison to the interagency intelligence committee that oversaw the operations, the Huston Plan played a part in President Richard Nixon’s impeachment, providing evidence for his misuse of the FBI and other parts of the executive branch.  Parts of the document have appeared previously, for instance in the records of the Senate Watergate Committee and the Church Committee.  This is the first time the document has been released on its own and with this amount of text declassified.

Today’s posting also features more than two dozen additional documents from the FBI, CIA and other sources — as well as audio recordings from the Nixon Tapes — most of them obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and posted for the first time.

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